Hornsey Town Hall – Comments arising from the Public Meeting

POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS TO THE
HORNSEY TOWN HALL PLANNING APPLICATION

General advice

Comments that relate to the planning application

Effect of the new development on Hornsey Town Hall as a Grade 2* listed building in a Conservation Area
Restoration and other alterations to a listed building
Scale of new development and impact on surrounding housing
Change of use
Traffic and transport
Impact on local services
Lack of affordable housing
Employment
Town Hall Square
Density
Arts and community space
Effect of the new development on Hornsey Town Hall as a Grade 2* listed building in a Conservation Area.
Does this proposal enhance the setting of HTH and the Conservation Area or does it detract from it?

      • The proposed new blocks A and B are too tall, and diminish the standing of the Grade II* listed Town Hall and Grade II listed library
      • The proposed 5 , 6 and 7 storey blocks are monolithic, overbearing and entirely out of character with the area, which is mainly two storey terraces
      • A recent application (post-dating the 2010 permission for the Town Hall) to add a storey to what is now the Waterstone’s block was rejected precisely because the extra storey would detract from the nature of the conservation area and views of Crouch End
      • The design is generic and unsympathetic to the character of the surrounding neighbourhood.

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Restoration and other alterations to a listed building
Is the restoration sympathetic and appropriate? Is there enough information on the proposed restoration?

  • The restoration should be completed before the flats are built, and future maintenance needs to be assured by the new owners, the new use, and clear conditions
  • The details on materials are incomplete, for example the form of the upgraded windows, and should be supplied.

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Scale of new development and impact on surrounding housing

  • Proposed new buildings in the carpark are too high for the surrounding area
  • The HTH Planning Statement incorrectly asserts that surrounding streets are mainly 3 and 4 storeys high. They are actually lined with 2 storey houses. Therefore the 5, 6 and 7 storey blocks are out of keeping with the local context and character.
  • Block A is built too close to the boundary of the site causing overlooking to Primezone Mews, Haringey Park and Weston Park. The new Mews block is immediately on the boundary of properties in Weston Park
  • Impact of loss of daylight and sunlight on properties adjoining the development, both within the houses and in their private amenity space, in particular the gardens and backs of Weston Park and Primezone Mews.
  • Further modelling should be provided showing the overshadowing effects throughout the day and the year.

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Change of use

  • There are rules on change of use for non-designated employment land and floorspace, requiring the applicant to demonstrate that the site is no longer suitable or viable for the existing use. Hornsey Town Hall is demonstrably both suitable and viable for its existing use.
  • Crouch End is anyway short of office space. Change of use from office to residential is now assumed to have permission, but not in the special case of a listed building. This proposed change of use should not be permitted.
  • There is now an objection on the Haringey web site which sets out very clearly the reasons why there should be no loss of office space. This is very closely related to the change of use.

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Traffic and transport
Will there be more traffic in the immediate and surrounding area? If yes, can the roads cope?

  • The applicant’s traffic survey and traffic plan fail to take into account that everyone who travels to or from Crouch End by public transport must first make a bus journey. By ignoring this fact, their traffic plan is entirely questionable and should be resubmitted.
  • TfL has commented on the planning application. They have concerns about the impact of additional passengers on the bus network at peak hours, especially as the W7 is at capacity. As a result they have asked for £475,000 to mitigate the effects.
  • The applicant has proposed a shuttle bus to take people to the Town Hall. The proposals for a shuttle bus to the site are unconvincing, and the drop-off points are unclear. If the drop off area at the fountain is used this will negatively impact the public open space currently enjoyed by children and others
  • There will be an increase in service and goods vehicles of at least 54 vehicles. The management plan requires residents and staff expecting deliveries to inform delivery companies of the route they should take to reach the site. This is not realistic, and will likely result in service and goods drivers turning left into Haringey Park, to the detriment of the local residential streets.

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Impact on local services

  • How will local provision of school places cope with the additional 495 people in the new residential blocks?
  • How will local provision of GP surgeries cope with the additional 467 people in the new residential blocks? No new provision of GP surgeries is planned. The Community Infrastructure Levy which will arise from this development will be directed first to priorities in the East of the Borough

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Lack of affordable housing

  • The applicant proposes no affordable units on the basis of their Economic Viability Assessment, but the inputs of residential pricing, the costs of borrowing, and the cost of construction are not believable and must be challenged by the council
  • The EVA proposes a profit margin of 19-20% which is unacceptably high for a publicly owned site.

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Employment

  • There are currently around 75 small businesses operating out of the town hall, employing about 130 people. There are no plans to relocate them as part of the redevelopment.
  • The council’s Economic Development Team commented on the planning application that HTH is “vacant or underused in employment terms”. This is incorrect.
  • Co-working space to be provided in the redeveloped town hall will not replace small, affordable workspaces as currently provided, resulting in the loss of the existing employment space and employment
  • The Mayor of London is running a campaign to create more workspaces for small and start-up businesses.
  • Haringey’s own Development Management Policies (DM40) highlights the need to retain existing workspace

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Town Hall Square

  • Concern over the privatisation of what is currently public open space for all to enjoy, continued public use and access to the square must be assured, and should not be hindered through closure for commercial uses
  • The Crouch End Festival has stated that the new design of the square, and in particular the low wall to be built around the green, will make staging the festival in its current form impossible
  • The applicant proposes that the Annex residents should use the Town Hall Square as their own ‘amenity space’, in the absence of providing balcony or garden space. This is inappropriate and unsatisfactory when the space is already heavily used
  • Much greater consultation is needed on these plans to achieve a design that will work for the residents of Crouch End and for the festival.

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Density

  • The applicant has included the Town Hall square in the calculation of density. This is not accepted practice. The corrected density of the development is 187 units per hectare
  • London Plan Policy 3.4 states that the density of an urban area with a PTAL rating of 2-3 (public transport accessibility level, HTH has a PTAL rating of 2-3) should be no higher than 170 units/ha, and “Development proposals which compromise this policy should be resisted.

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Arts and community space

  • National guidance for heritage assets demand that new uses are sustainable. The arts and community uses are a principal public benefit of this project. Further details about the viability of the arts centre must be submitted and assessed.

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Comments that relate to the process

These are not planning objections but relate to the way that the planning process has been followed.

  • The application that has been submitted is very unlike the bid that won the procurement competition
  • Our local councillors have intervened in the process by publishing an open letter very different in tone to all their previous highly supportive comments
  • It is clear from the open letter that the councillors had not carried due diligence on the proposals before appointing FEC as the preferred developer
  • FEC have stopped using the proper channels of communication and have instead taken to publishing letters on the councillors’ blog
  • FEC have designed auditoria and public spaces entirely without the benefit of consultation with an Arts Centre Operator (as at 14th September 2017)
  • Haringey has signed a development agreement with FEC prior to knowing what FEC is actually going to do. This effectively negates Haringey’s negotiating position.

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The header image on this page shows a view of the library from Ivy Gardens. One of the proposed new blocks is shown behind the library. The image has been created by Stephen Richter.

3 Comments

  1. Adrian Essex

    I have added a second bullet point under ‘change of use’ relating to the general lack of office space in Crouch End

    Reply

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